You do you.
I’ve been coming across a lot of Mitsuki Saiga in this past week. Aside from Hibiki finally becoming a major part of the show, I also watched The Soul Taker/Nurse Witch Komugi, where she played the main hero, Kyosuke Date. In Komugi, he was an idol, and the musical performance, even it it was over a decade ago, sounded very similar to how Hibiki is being portrayed.
Then there’s the Western/dub side of things. Steven Universe has been airing in Japan, and just reached the conclusion of its first season. “Jail Break”. Mitsuki Saiga has been voicing Garnet, and while the song doesn’t flow quite as well as it does in English – but the translators tried their best to fit what they had – it shows that Saiga can play a fairly wide range of roles, up to mimicking Estelle for dubbing purposes. Ruby and Sapphire are a pairing that have the same kind of closeness as Dorothy and Leona, and with that awkward transition, I can get to the central part of this week’s episode, because there’s a lot going on.
Hibiki being a woman is big news, on everything from not-CNN to Wikipedia. Yet, the overall reaction of the news seems positive. The way the show is portraying Hibiki is sort of like Makoto from iM@S, the only difference is that Hibiki chose to be that way, and is embracing it. That’s what makes Leona want to reach out to her, to see if they have anything in common with their desires to dress outside of the gender boundaries of society.
Ultimately, this results in the West twins crashing into a drama performance set aboard a pirate ship, where Leona is cast as the princess being rescued by Prince Hibiki. (Dorothy gets to be the pirate Leona’s being rescued from, complete with doofy mustache.) This leads to a heartwarming conversation that completely goes off the script, where both of them realize that they act the way they do because it’s how they feel most comfortable, how they can be as true to themselves as possible. Which makes a stark contrast from Valkyrie Drive, where Akira was using her crossdressing as deceit, and while the reaction to her being exposed hasn’t been seen yet, it seems overall less positive. Score one for the kids’ show, knowing how to handle these things with grace and dignity.
The only one who needed some time to recover from the Hibiki revelation was Fuwari, and even she seemed to be coming around to it by the end of the episode, realizing that while it’s true, maybe the Hibiki she treated as her prince, can still be her prince. For all its wackiness, PriPara has a usually pretty mature take on subjects like these. I wonder if some of that has to do with having Makoto Moriwaki directing. She’s been in kids’ TV and late night anime, and knows how to strike the perfect balance between the latter’s comic sensibilities and the former’s family friendly messages.
There’s other things going on in the episode involving Sophie and Shion wondering if they should join Hibiki’s unit, and Mirei pumping up Lala to find a way to defeat Hibiki. Also, the PriPara Police are officially disbanded, now that the Genius case has been solved. What this means for Ajimi’s future is anyone’s guess, but if you hear a strange “brrrrrrrr” sound and the splattering of paint, she’s probably right behind you.
The Genius arc has had its ups and downs, but now that all the cards are on the table, I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes. Depending on what Hibiki wants to use the Dream Theater for, this season may even top the first one.
Shion and Sophie continue wondering about joining up with a crossdressing celebrity idol.